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Education column: Take a bow, operations department

It comes as no surprise that when students and instructional staff leave for the summer, the curtain rises on the Clovis Municipal Schools' Operations Department, which shifts into high gear for a special set of activities.

With the school buildings empty, the custodial and maintenance staff can begin with their extensive summer lists: stripping floors, waxing, buffing, cleaning carpets, replacing bulbs, repairing, patching, painting; and that's only part of the list. In addition, all schools are in a rotation for major jobs of painting and repairs of buildings.

Heavy rains during this past summer — for which we are all grateful, of course — did mean a great deal of extra attention to school grounds, even those with xeriscaping in place. School operations staff worked hard to stay on top of the mowing, weeding, and other weather-related tasks.

This past summer also saw a surge in activity for the next large project, construction of the new James Bickley Elementary school building. John King, Director of Operations, described the status. “The work is currently on schedule, with “substantial completion” ready by April of 2015, and “final completion” which will be at the end of the summer of 2015.” Driving around the curve on Mitchell Street, just south of 21st Street provides an excellent view of the construction work for interested community members. Incidentally, when the new James Bickley building is completed, the main access will still be from 14th Street.

Another major project that took place over the summer was the construction of 17 new science labs at three secondary school sites. This was major, indeed, with some existing rooms requiring gutting completely and re-framing, as well as adding water and sewer, as well as new electrical.

King continued, “We applied for and were awarded PSFA funding for Phase I design work for Parkview Elementary, Cameo roof repairs and Yucca Middle School roof repair and/or replacement, as identified. PSFA is the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority with whom we combine funds to make all of these things possible.

Given this status, the Clovis Schools are on target for all of the projects as outlined in the Bond Election brochure. Our Facility Master Plan and progress of work can be reviewed on our website at http://www.clovis-schools.org/operations/facility_master_plan.html.

An exciting new addition to the operations department is the new Deputy Superintendent of Operations, Carrie Bunce. Bunce, veteran educator and administrator for many years, began in June of this past summer with a background spanning a considerable of range experience running schools from all perspectives.

What does this all have to do with education? Everything! The operations department, with all of its detailed facets, provides the framework for kids to come to school and teachers to teach. It is a massive job, and all too often underappreciated, with many of the activities taking place in the background.

So, operations department, step out into the limelight, take a bow, and know how much we all appreciate you.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the Instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at [email protected]